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Moderate beer consumption may protect bone health

Wiki Spanish Food editorial team

Osteoporosis is a metabolic bone disorder in which people have fragile bones and are more disposed to suffer fractures and experience a decline in bone mass. There are multiple non-modifiable risk factors for osteoporosis, such as old age, dementia and a family history of fractures. However, others, such as a lack of physical exercise, smoking and a diet that is low in vitamin D can be remedied by ensuring healthy eating habits and the right lifestyle.

The guide Bone Health, Nutrition and Beer, drafted by the Hispanic Foundation for Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases (FHOEMO), recommends increasing consumption of foods rich in calcium (a fundamental element in bone formation) and eating foods which have vitamin D and silicon (bananas, bread, beans, lentils, potatoes, and beer). Engaging in light exercise and taking walks outside is also beneficial for preventing and lessoning the effects of this illness.

Dr. Manuel Díaz Curiel, author of the manual and chairman of the FHOEMO, says that the right eating habits and lifestyle are essential for preventing bone diseases. He also underlines the importance of consuming foods and beverages which are rich in vitamin D and silicon, such as beer.

It's worth noting that beer is a low-calorie fermented beverage that is low in alcohol and is made from water, barley and hops. Those natural ingredients release important nutrients for the body, such as B vitamins and minerals. Moreover, beer contains polyphenols (natural antioxidants), phytoestrogens and, as we said previously, silicon, which can be beneficial for protecting bone health.

Although excess alcohol has proven to be an important risk factor leading to osteoporosis, considerable scientific evidence associate moderate consumption of beer (at most 3 beers per day for men and 2 for women, in the case of traditional beer) with better bone health. This scientific evidence is set out in the literature review entitled Action of beer on the bone , also led by Dr. Manuel Díaz Curiel, and published in the journal Osteoporosis and Mineral Metabolism by the Spanish Society for Bone Research and Mineral Metabolism (SEIOMM).  

The study entitled Effect of beer drinking on ultrasound bone mass in women , from the University of Extremadura and published in the journal Nutrition, confirms that moderate beer consumption can have a positive impact on bone mass in post-menopausal women as an independent variable.

 Díaz Curiel M, Torrijos Eslava A. Action of beer on the bone. Osteoporosis and Mineral Metabolism Journal, 2012 4;2:83-87

 Pedrera-Zamorano JD, Lavado-Garcia JM, Roncero-Martin JF, Rodriguez-Dominguez T, Canal-Macias ML. Effect of beer drinking on ultrasound bone mass in women. Nutrition 2009; 25:1057-63

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